Monday, April 29

Finishing Strong In a Bible Study Class

Today's post may sting a little. It's totally okay though, because we ALL have most likely thought these thoughts mid way through participating in a bible study with a group of women. No one who reads this post is alone in her thinking about bible study.

Bible Study Teachers Struggle TOO!
Let me be clear: If you think your Bible teacher never deals with defeating thoughts about finishing a bible study, you are wrong. We all struggle with discouragement at some point and time. As a Bible study teacher, I get tired. Weary. Discouraged. I wonder if my efforts to encourage a woman where she is in life at present really matters when I don't see the fruit. Some bible study days I too, think, "I'm tired" and "I wish I could just be at home tonight on the sofa in my pink flannel jammies" or "It's been a long day, I wish I could ditch the whole thing." I am just being honest. 

But I can't act on these thoughts because I am the leader. 

So what do I do? How do I move beyond that defeating funk attitude? 
I preach myself the Gospel again. Yes!!! I have to preach to my mind and heart about the reason why I lead, and why I am so passionate for women to be growing through the study of God's word and not let my defeating thoughts win the mind battle. Over time, I have had to learn to take these kinds of thoughts tightly captive. The following verses are ones I go back to on the days where I begin to think, "what's the use?"

Colossians 3:2- It's not about letting the thoughts I think lead my life. It's about setting my mind back on the calling God gave me years ago to do.
 Philippians 2:7-8,- Jesus was obedient to finish the work at the cross. I will be obedient to complete the bible study whether others finish strong or not.
2 Corinthians 5:7- Faith is not about walking in what I see around me It's about continuing the journey despite what I don't see, focusing my eyes solely on Jesus. 
Luke 10:2- The harvest is plentiful. Keep working it despite the shortage on laborers.
Destructive Thought Patterns That Keep Women From Growing Through Bible Study
You too, as a bible study participant, may have also felt some of the following thought patterns while in the middle of a bible study or toward the end of a bible study class. Which one of these have you thought on the day of bible study class? 

These are just a few of the destructive thoughts that I have witnessed over the years that keep women from growing in their walk with Jesus while participating in a bible study group. It should never surprise any of us when we begin to think them especially on the day of bible study. What these thought patterns should DO is SIGNAL to our hearts that a greater war than we can physically see is going on between our flesh and spirit. 

These thoughts become a serious problem when a woman lets the thoughts lead her away from finishing a bible study. Staying away from a study once started and not finishing strong is how a woman sabatoges her own spirutal growth. Guess what happens? Satan wins because you stay where you are. Not only does he win in the area of spiritual growth, he wins because he has kept you from being connected to a group of ladies who are journeying alongside you as well dealing with the same life issues. He has kept you isolated and alone, just like he likes to do. Remember Eve in the garden? He loved talking to her while she was alone! 

What's Wrong With Not Finishing A Bible Study?
There are times when you can't finish a bible study because of a big life event that comes your way. I know. I had to stop mine this past fall because my daddy died. Christmas schedules began to pick up around that time and life was crazy for everyone.  I stopped it before he passed away and postponed the last two sessions til January. I did finish it when my flesh just wanted to say, "everyone has forgotten it, just don't complete it." I was not going to give in to a pattern of not finishing because Jesus finished the work on the cross for me. 

What's wrong with not finishing a bible study is not the one study you don't finish. I know things come up. What's wrong is when a woman decides that this is the pattern for her spiritual growth. She starts a study and is "gung ho" at the beginning and midway through, these thoughts come in and she stops. She lets this become the pattern of her bible study life. Then, she is not ruling the destructive thoughts that she is thinking, but letting her thoughts rule her spiritual growth. 

"Houston, we have a problem!!!!!" 

The REAL DEAL on Women's Bible Study Groups
Women need to connect with other women about life, Christ and his word. It revives us. It gives us spiritual energy that we didn't have before. It brings new friendships. It deepens the friendships we have made. But when we let a pattern of starting and stopping become the way we DO bible study, we aren't doing bible study. We aren't doing anything really. We are letting life lead us and missing out on growth, purpose and deep connections.

The truth is, a bible study unfinished is a bible study is simply unfinished. It's like going to the grocery store and leaving a full grocery cart at the checkout counter unpaid for. The food was chosen, looked at and even desired, but it has not been used and has no real purpose. It's just left there full waiting to be opened and eaten.

Examining Your Bible Study Life
Is this the pattern of your bible study life? Is this a struggle for you? 
It doesn't have to be. Just like you commit to going to a concert, playing baseball games, signing up for dancing and art lessons you commit your family too, so it must be the same in commitment to bible study. Commitment doesn't happen. It's consistently chosen time after time because you are committed to finishing it through and learning in the process.

You know what happens as you begin to really commit to growing in the LORD with other women? Amazing growth! More purpose is found! More connections are made and the feelings of "being alone" begin to fizzle. That is how you know you are defeating the enemy.

I love Bible study. I love teaching women. That is my hearts passion. And that is the reason I believed it was important for me to write this post- not to condemn you, but to encourage you to keep going. To walk by faith and not by sight. To pursue God and not let life overtake you. To decide today that you will commit to a group of women and study God's word together. 

You can become a woman who finishes bible study strong and grows in the process. It begins by not giving in to lies and excuses over why not to finish.

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